Longtime Colorado hockey ref searching for Aspen officials among youth ranks

Aspen High School hockey hosts Resurrection Christian on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Peter Arnold’s playing career ended after high school, but his time on the ice continues a few decades later. A longtime USA Hockey official and new Aspen resident, Arnold is searching for the next generation of hockey referees among the youth ranks in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“I know from my time officiating that it made me a better player. I saw more of the ice, I saw the game, I saw plays develop,” Arnold said. “These kids here don’t need the money and I’m trying to find a different motivation to get some kids out there to officiate. You can start as young as 12 years old in USA Hockey. If I get three or four boys and girls to come out from youth hockey to put on the stripes and give it a go, to me that’s a win.”

Arnold will lead a Level 1 officiating seminar on Sunday at the Aspen Recreation Center. It’s the beginning of a new role he has with Aspen Junior Hockey, where he’s been put in charge of leading scheduling and officiating efforts in the valley. He’s been trained through USA Hockey to lead such seminars.

A University of Michigan graduate, Arnold has been visiting Aspen since his teens in the early-to-mid 1980s and even spent a “ski bum year” living at the base of Aspen Mountain during the 1996-97 winter. He eventually moved to Steamboat Springs in 2002 and called it home until recently relocating to Aspen with his family.

Arnold has made many trips to Aspen and other Western Slope ski towns over the years to officiate ice hockey games, something he’s done since 1987.

“I was a high school student and I got into it because I wanted to improve my skating and know the rules better and I thought I could give back to the game,” Arnold said. “The money was always a nice perk, but never the motivation.”

Peter Arnold poses with his wife Lenka, daughter Emma and son Thomas. The family recently relocated to Aspen, where Peter is now in charge of leading scheduling and officiating for youth hockey.
Courtesy photo

In order to become an official and take part in Sunday’s seminar with Arnold, one must register as a Level 1 official through USA Hockey’s website via the “officials” tab. After registering, there will be an option to select a seminar, of which the Aspen one should be listed.

While there will be some ice time on Sunday morning, Arnold said a lot of the seminar will be via PowerPoint presentations and the like, part of an improved and condensed training program USA Hockey has developed to get more officials into skates.

“USA Hockey has done a tremendous job, a tremendous amount of work, to make the process of getting your requirements completed a lot easier,” Arnold said. “It’s been burdensome for a while.”


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